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Getting there

Virgin Atlantic will be operating direct flights from London Heathrow to Vancouver on Tue, Thu, Sat and Sun between 24 May-27 Oct '12. Alternatively Air Canada fly daily from London Heathrow to Vancouver year round.

Time difference: GMT -8 hours.

Flight time: approx. 10 hours.

Language: English

Currency: Canadian Dollars C$

Time difference - GMT -8 hours.

Holidays in Vancouver

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WEATHER HERE

With its breathtaking oceanfront location, surrounded by sandy beaches and spectacular mountains, Vancouver combines the best of outdoor life with a vibrant and cosmopolitan city.

Spend a few days, or a couple of weeks with Vancouver as your destination, perhaps a starting point to one of our fantastic tours and you will be surprised that one city can offer so much. Head off in a different direction every day to explore the city’s colourful neighbourhoods or experience the heart-stopping canyon cliffwalk, and cross the swaying 450ft long Capilano Suspension Bridge. There’s also hiking in the temperate rainforests close to Vancouver or take a spectacular floatplane rid... Read more

Spend a few days, or a couple of weeks with Vancouver as your destination, perhaps a starting point to one of our fantastic tours and you will be surprised that one city can offer so much. Head off in a different direction every day to explore the city’s colourful neighbourhoods or experience the heart-stopping canyon cliffwalk, and cross the swaying 450ft long Capilano Suspension Bridge. There’s also hiking in the temperate rainforests close to Vancouver or take a spectacular floatplane ride to Victoria, spotting basking whales from the air and further afield marvel at the the fjords and majestic mountain ranges. Remember to carry your camera at all times, to capture those amazing natural canvasses that present themselves so readily in and around this beautiful city of nature.

With all that water and wide open spaces to explore, climb aboard a yacht for a spot of sailing around Vancouver harbour or paddle a kayak gliding along the shoreline. With bike hire readily available why not cycle along the seawall of Stanley Park to truly enjoy the great outdoors, at your own pace of course, just like one of the locals. If you want to get up close and personal with a different type of inhabitant of Vancouver, take a trip to the Grouse Mountain’s Refuge for Endangered Wildlife to see the resident Grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola! Alternatively, if it’s the sealife that ‘floats your boat’, not only can you take a boat tour to view the whales and dolphins in the wild, you can almost touch them they are so close in the Vancouver Aquarium, in the centre of Stanley Park – North America’s largest city park.

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Ramada Inn and Suites Downtown Vancouver

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Fairmont Waterfront

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Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel

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More about Vancouver

Eating out

Vancouver has made a bit of a name for itself in recent years as a gourmet capital, specialising in Asian-Pacific Rim cuisine. Chinatown is North America’s second largest and home to some of the finest Chinese cuisine in the world. Cantonese is the dominant culinary style with Dim Sum delicacies a must at lunchtime. Also look out for the Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant and its famous crab festival. Yaletown, Gastown and Robson Street have some excellent restaurants too, whilst Commercial Drive is fantastic for those who love ethnic and vegetarian dishes. Don’t miss Granville Island’s colourful market packed full with foodie delights as well as arts and crafts. Our featured hotels, including the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown and Rosewood Hotel are also home to award-winning restaurants, so don’t forget to check what’s on your doorstep!

Not to be missed

Perhaps one of the best things to do in Vancouver is to orientate yourself on a sightseeing tour. Buy yourself a pass, valid for 2 days, on the Hop On Hop Off Trolley and explore at your own pace the delights of Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, Granville Island, Robson Street, English Bay and more. You could also join a walking tour or take to the high seas on a harbour cruise, sailing past the Lookout Tower, the Lions Gate Bridge and the spectacular city skyline. The really adventurous may enjoy a spot of flightseeing, soaring like a bird over high-rise buildings. For something more low-key but just as enjoyable, head to Stanley Park for a horse-drawn carriage ride through Vancouver’s No.1 attraction, marvelling at totem poles, the Rose Garden and Deadman’s Island.

Shopping

If there’s one thing Vancouver has a lot of, it’s shops! Very cosmopolitan, the retail choice is endless. In Chinatown, you’ll find handmade goods in stalls lining the streets – in particular, look out for the Friday Night Market. Commercial Drive or ‘The Drive’ as it’s known locally, is one of the most diverse areas in Vancouver selling vintage clothing, vinyl records and unique books. Davie Village is another lively West End neighbourhood and Gastown is also a delight. Cross the bridge to Granville Island for street musicians and artists studios, whilst back on the mainland, Granville Street is home to the brand name stuffed Pacific Centre. For more ‘one-of-a-kind’ shops head to the very trendy Robson Street and Drake Street. Less than 15 minutes from downtown is Kerrisdale, home to hundreds more shops or check out South Main (SoMa) – the fashion district.

Best for families

Families are high priority in Vancouver with plenty to keep the kids entertained. First up is Vancouver Aquarium with over 50,000 captivating creatures. There are dolphin and beluga whale shows, sea otter feeds and shark drives as well as a 4D Experience Theatre combining the high definition excitement of a 3D film with thrilling sensory effects. Check out their newest exhibition, Penguin Point, home to 7 African penguins. Alice Lake Provincial Park is another family favourite, swimming or fishing in one of four fresh water lakes, wondering along nature trails or simply relaxing on the beach. There’s also a fabulous waterfront park at Jericho Beach and interactive exhibits at the Telus World of Science. The Aquabus to Granville Island is fun too.

Best for couples

Laid-back during the day, hip and happening come sundown, that’s Vancouver! Uber-cool lounges, cosy pubs and high energy dance clubs abound. Live music is easy to find, with local bands and international artists setting up in a variety of venues around town, playing everything from Blues to Rock ‘n Roll. Irish pubs grace every neighbourhood, including Gastown and the West End or head to Granville Street, cutting right through downtown and Vancouver’s main entertainment district. If you’re feeling lucky, there are plenty of casinos in which to pit your wits against Lady Luck or head to the Orpheum Theatre, built in 1927 and a National Heritage Site, its sumptuous Spanish baroque interior will delight as much as the show itself! The Vancouver Opera is Canada’s second largest and the Arts Club Theatre Company delivers top-notch shows every season.

Highly recommended is the scenic Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler. A 2-hour drive each way, it’s more than worth it, stopping to explore waterfalls, hiking trails and paths. Whistler, known for its shopping and dining, is also lovely for lingering over lunch. If you’re keen divers, the sheltered waters of Howe Sound, Deep Cove and Indian Arm are fabulous whilst the more experienced can take a charter and explore steep walls and current swept pinnacles. For culture, the Vancouver Art Gallery is a must or head to the Catriona Jeffries Gallery on the eastern side of Vancouver for an impressive collection of art.

Weddings/Honeymoons

Vancouver combines world-class city amenities with beautiful natural surrounds, making it an ideal wedding and honeymoon destination. After exchanging vows on the beach perhaps or in the pristine gardens of a 5-star hotel, spend time exploring stunning national parks and driving through some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever see, stopping at towns and villages en-route. If you’re here in Spring, you’re in luck! Cherry blossom trees cover the streets with a canopy of flowers and when the blossom falls, the streets look as though they’re covered in pink snow – highly romantic! Featured hotels such as the Fairmont Pacific Rim offer an ideal base for your special occasion with lavishly appointed guest rooms, an indulgent spa and exquisite restaurants. All set conveniently close or in the heart of downtown, Vancouver is yours to discover at leisure.

Something different

Discover Vancouver’s many and varied neighbourhoods at festivals such as the Chinese New Year Parade in February and the Eastside Cultural Crawl in November, meeting local painters, jewellers, musicians, photographers, potters and writers in their studios and shops. The Celebration of Light Fireworks Festival spectacularly lights up Vancouver’s shoreline during late July and early August or join in the Sun Run in April, the country’s largest running event through the heart of downtown Vancouver. The city is also home to one of Canada’s largest Dragon Boat events – if you’re interested, book our featured hotel, the Best Western Downtown Vancouver, overlooking False Creek, where it’s held! Fair at the PNE is something else to get your teeth into. Held over 17 days in August and September, delights include nightly concerts, kid’s shows and cultural shows as well as a very impressive amusement park. For film buffs, the Vancouver International Film Festival in late September is one of the most popular in North America – check online for schedules of films.

Weather / Best time to go

Vancouver weather is the mildest in Canada! The hottest months are July and August, an ideal time to go hiking, biking and camping in the mountains. March to May and September to November are out of season but the weather is still mild, so perfect if you want less crowds whilst sightseeing. Some say Vancouver is at its most beautiful during winter and they’d be right. A fantastic base for winter sports fanatics, there’s terrific powder at nearby Grouse Mountain and Whistler Blackcomb! Other activities available include cross-country skiing, skating and snowshoeing available too.

Seeking adventure

An outdoor playground, there’s plenty for thrill seekers in Vancouver. Grouse Mountain on Vancouver’s North Shore offers Mountain Zipline Tours, flying above the treetops at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. There’s also the aerial tramway whisking you up the mountainside. Whistler, Squamish and the Tantalus Range are fabulous for climbing and caving or head to Lighthouse Park, less than half an hour from downtown and home to gorgeous oceanfront cliffs and some pretty good bouldering too. Camping in the wilderness is a real adventure with alpine peaks and verdant forests just an hour’s drive away. Hike the backcountry in Garibaldi Provincial Park before settling down for the night or drive to Golden Ears Provincial Park, home to more than 400 campsites. Whilst there, boat, canoe or kayak the lakes or mountain bike down exhilaratingly steep descents.

Sight Seeing Ideas

As Vancouver is set right beside the ocean, we’d say the beaches are pretty unmissable! Kitsilano is one of the most popular or try Jericho, Spanish Bank, Ambleside, Second and Third – each boasting their own individual character. Whale watching tours are also pretty spectacular, spotting orcas grey whales, humpback whales and minke whales as well as dolphins and seabirds galore. Back on dry land, hike around Stanley Park, regarded as the soul of the city and, at 1,000 acres, the largest urban park in North America. If it’s raining, re-route to Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden with its covered walkways and pavilions rimmed with hand-made drip tiles which, if it’s really pouring, flows like a crystal bead curtain. The Van Dusen Botancial Gardens are amongst the best in the world or tackle the Capilano Suspension Bridge – swaying 70 metres above ground!

Getting around

Within the main city area you won't need a car as public transport is plentiful and reasonably priced. Jump on one of the regular trolley buses or try one of the great city bus tours to ensure you don’t miss any of the great attractions this beautiful city has to offer. The SkyTrain and public ferries are a great fun way to get around and an excellent way to see the city, too!

Non-drivers

Transfers are available to pre-book at an additional cost.

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